Let’s be honest for a second. When it comes to eating healthier and/or trying to lose weight it’s getting harder and harder to know what to do.
The mainstream media tends to sensationalize the latest and greatest “fad” diet. Add to it the ton of misinformation posted in social media sites by would be “nutrition experts” pitching this product or that and it isn’t any wonder there is so much confusion out there.
Now I could likely have made this a top 50 list but I thought I’d start with my top 5.
As a trainer and nutrition coach who has helped thousands of people to fix their eating and become healthier these are the ones that I have found to be the most prevalent or toughest to overcome.
Here are our top 5 Nutrition Myths you need to let go of to have a happy, healthy body.
#5 - I have to starve
All too often we think we have to starve ourselves into losing weight. I’ve seen highly intelligent people who ought to know better consume less than 500 calories a day in order to “get the weight off”.
And these aren’t even people who have eating disorders. These are just folks who’ve bought into the “less is more” belief as in the less I eat the more weight I’ll lose.
Now to be fair at first that WILL work but for the long-term, not so much. In fact the opposite usually happens. No one can sustain eating that little and the body will think its starving.
In response your metabolism will slow down and as some recent research is finding that “slowing down” become permanent. This results it making it even harder to lose weight.
The truth is you do likely need to eat less than you are now. But that doesn’t mean starving. A reduction of as little as 250-500 calories per day over time has been shown to help you not just lose weight but keep it off. Your goal should be to lose 1-2lbs per week and that’s it.
One other thing… a funny thing happens when you stop eating CRAP and start eating REAL foods in the right amounts. Not only will you not feel like you’re starving you’ll feel full.
In fact the most common thing I hear from clients when they adopt healthy eating is “I can’t eat that much” when in fact calorie wise at least they were eating far more in the past.
#4 I have to “Diet”
Here’s the thing. NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE likes dieting, and that’s the problem when we jump on this “diet” or that.
When we follow a particular diet (it doesn’t matter in the least which one) most people feel they are being deprived. And when you can’t have something… well you want it even more.
The word diet has such a negative connotation and tends to lead to an all or nothing approach. And let me tell you friends, nothing wins pretty much EVERY time.
Permanent Change aka RESULTS comes not from dieting but from making small changes that over time lead to bigger results.
Instead of saying I’m on a Diet, say: “I’m on a healthy eating program”. Yeah it’s pretty much the same thing but you’d be amazed at the difference in long term stick-to-it-ness (is that a word?) that that one change makes.
#3 Opting for Meal replacements over real food.
To be blunt this one pisses me off. Why? Because so many people believe in it. How many? Well the supplement industry is rakes in tens of billions of dollars per year.
And Who is the supplement industry? Things like Herbalife, Advocare, Slimfast, Atkins Thrive, Beachbody and many MANY others. The folks pitching this stuff generally have little if any knowledge of nutrition but are quick to quote this study or that.
Problem is those studies are paid for by... yep you guessed it the very company who’s product they are pitching. And some of that advice these folks are giving you is not only flat out wrong but for some people could be very dangerous.
Folks that ‘drink 2 shakes and have a sensible meal at dinner” line doesn’t work. I mean do you really want to have a shake for breakfast and lunch every single day for the rest of your life? Or would you rather have real food, in the right amounts. Foods that you enjoy?
Now the occasional meal replacement is fine heck I have them too. But I don’t spend hundreds of dollars a month on them.
I make my own “super shake” which costs a fraction of what those peddlers are selling and have REAL ingredients in them and not all the “added stuff” they claim makes it better but is really put in because in making their processed frankenfoods they strip out the natural vitamins and minerals.
And really folks ‘energy fizzes” designed to give you a “spark”? All they are is caffeine and sugar in powdered form. You can get the same affect from having a cup of coffee with some Kool-Aid on the side.
#2 Skipping Meals to Lose Weight
This is one I see ALL the time with the most common meal skipped being Breakfast. The thought process is if I skip those meals then I won’t have eaten those calories and I’ll lose weight.
The problem with this is that as mentioned before you end up starving. In fact studies have shown time and again that those who skip meals make up for it when they do eat and then some.
My own research (not to mention my own personal experience) supports this. Back in the day I used to NEVER eat breakfast... and I weighed 400 pounds.
What?? Well here’s the thing because I knew I wouldn’t be eating anything till say noon I would fill up the night before so that I wasn’t hungry. And it became a never ending cycle. Starve all day and feast at night.
Studies have shown that those who skip meals often eat MORE Than they would have than if they’d not skipped by as much as 30% (in my case it was prolly closer to 50%)
Worse, by skipping meals regularly you can slow down your metabolism which then leads you down the weight gain path.
Instead do what I did which is to start by eating at least something every 2-4 hours. For breakfast I started with a piece of toast with peanut butter. Over time it gradually became more to the point now that breakfast is pretty much my largest meal of the day.
Now while that may not happen for you even something like a piece of toast will get you started and then focus on having smaller meals throughout the day.
#1 - You can’t eat <insert bad thing of the month>
This one comes up ALL the time. For decades it was "You can’t eat fat. It will well... make you fat.
Currently the rage is: "You can’t eat Carbs” cause you know carbs are making you sick
Heck just last week I read an article in Flakebook that said: “Too much Protein will kill you.” And by too much the article pretty much said ANY.
Then add other things like cutting out: gluten, dairy, fruit and so on that so many so called “nutrition experts” claim is bad for you. Well it’s hard to know what to eat.
Here are the facts folks. While it’s true, too much of any one of those things (carbs, fat, protein) is not a good idea you shouldn’t be eliminating any of them in an effort to lose weight or get healthy. These macro as well as micro nutrients, like vitamins & minerals, are ESSENTIAL to a healthy body.
And by avoiding an entire food group or macro nutrient you are placing stress on your body and can potentially put your health at risk
Now there are exceptions for medical issues such as celiac’s disease, diabetes or lactose intolerance and if you have one of those then yes you need to make adjustments. But you shouldn’t just assume that you’re fat because you eat gluten or god forbid drank a glass of milk.
Again it’s about eating REAL foods in the RIGHT amounts and having a healthy well balanced “diet”.
Start by making small changes.
If you don’t eat breakfast have something. If your idea of lunch is an energy fizz followed by a canned shake, make yourself a sandwich from whole grain bread.
If you’re dinner is a plate of lettuce add some lean protein, fresh veggies and a healthy fat such as an avocado.
The point is folks STOP just STOP buying into these myths. If you want to lose weight, feel better, be happier and healthier start by rejecting the myths mentioned above and focus on eating real foods.
Trust me if you do it won’t take long before you’ll notice the changes in your overall health and well being, not to mention your waistline.